Sophisticated and achieving individuals in a wide variety of realms, CWS graduates step with confidence into the world. A Waldorf education empowers students to positively face future tasks and challenges with heart and mind. Imbued with world knowledge, they recognize the wondrous quality of the human being and understand the physical laws of life. The Eighth grade year is the final step of the grade school experience; students feel tremendous pride in their individual and class journey.
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Change in their bodies and a stirring in their souls propel 8th graders. Undergoing a revolution of sorts, they study revolutions. The history blocks begin at the end of the Reformation and can span to present day. Highlighting major developments and figures, the history block provides that timeline cohesively so that students draw their own comparisons and conclusions.
In a meteorology block students observe the clouds, temperature, air pressure using a barometer, weather maps. They make forecasts based on warm and cold front interaction. This block fine tunes recording and observation skills, engaging the 8th grade student with the phenomena and power of the natural world.
8th grade chemistry ellicits knowledge from hands-on student experience. Students observe thoughtfully, reawakening 7th grade chemistry and physiology: the human body uses oxygen as the gas that can begin a fire within the digestive system. Demonstrations show inner qualities, transformations, with special attention to the water and carbon natures of substances. This block explores eating: the rich complexities of the body cooking and transforming food, releasing nutrients used by the body, as a wondrous chemical laboratory.
The 8th grade curriculum offers a living picture of the skeleton, the muscular system and two sensory organs, the eye and the ear. Since the students grow quickly at this developmental stage, they look closely at what structures this changing body: the intricate, unique job of the bones. Likewise, the body can be seen as art.
Students discover astounding inventions, possible for anyone to replicate. In physics, students recreate everyday innovations in electricity and radios. How does electricity get to one’s house? How does a lawn mower work? Who took the first road trip? The teacher performs demonstrations in sound, heat, hydraulics, and aerodynamics. Physics complements history; steam powers blossoming industry.
Moving imaginatively between the different dimensional worlds in geometry inspires students to “hold” a 3-D object in the imagination, counting the points, edges, and faces of that solid. Students draw nets (2D) for the different platonic solids, and then build the platonic solids from these nets. They examine Plato’s connection of earth, air, fire, water and the universe to these solids.
In Language Arts, grammar is solidified and students more completely edit their own work. Poetry blossoms alongside the mastery of speech. The 8th grade class play is typically drawn from the works of Shakespeare or from a modern play showcasing eloquent speech.
The final year of Art, Woodwork, Choir, Orchestra, Handwork, Spanish, and Movement culminates in refinement of all subject matters. In Handwork the students learn to use a sewing machine for various beginner projects, culminating in an intricate messenger bag or apron. In Woodwork they build and craft a practical item such as a stool or a chair.
The 8th grade takes a final class trip that further cultivates group and individual responsibility. The children push beyond their individual limits in new ways, initiating a new phase of their lives. A special time for the class, they have fun together, enjoying each other before drawing this profound CWS grade school journey to a close.